There was food (the best New Orleans food, which is the best food in America. I loved eating at the Commander's Palace, and at Muriel's, but I loved The Green Goddess more - Chefs Chris and Paul are heroes). (The "Mezze of Destruction" secret message should still give you a secret foodie easter egg of some kind, if you eat there and say it to your server. It's the secret "Neil sent me" code.)
On the morning of my birthday I was surprised by a wonderful unexpected art-event flashmob wedding.
If you head over to Amanda's blog and read this (and you should. Trust me) http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/1597897908/still-life-with-wedding-party
you will learn what Amanda did and how she pulled it off. It was amazing.
And once you've read that (go and read it. It'll make more sense of the rest of this) head over to http://www.kylecassidy.com/pix/travel/2010/nfgafpnola/afp-nfg-wedding-album-1.pdf in order to see some beautiful photos arranged into a wedding album by Kyle Cassidy. I don't think I knew that any of those photos were being taken except for the last.
As you read Amanda's blog and look at Kyle's photos you can marvel at the ease with which she persuaded me, without in any way suspecting anything was odd, to wear a top hat in my search for breakfast and tea; you can observe the way that I am astonished by Amanda's first surprise and then banjaxed by her second as a wedding party appears from nowhere; then marvel at the way that, when I think I can be no happier, she tops it with an actual produced-out-of-nowhere cup of tea.
This was how it ended (click on the photo to see it big enough to appreciate it), with Amanda and me with white paint on my face flanked by my glorious daughters, with our friends making happy faces and me holding tea.
Next time we get married, I'll marry the lady, not the statue, and there will be invited people and not a flash mob, and I'll know it's happening in advance, and there will be a paper and it will be legally recognised, but I cannot imagine it will be any more joyous than this was. And truthfully, after that morning's magical wedding, I don't think I could ever feel more married.
A lovely photo of Maddy and me and Holly by Adriane Biondo
(PS: As a result of the last interim post, I have learned that the Sushi making kit was from Lena St George-Sweet and Hamish Brown. I love my blog.)
(PPS: More of the New Orleans trip to come)